Summer Mathematics Institute

The Summer Mathematics Institute (SMI) is a 3-week residential program with an intense focus on mathematics. Students enroll in a single class and have the opportunity to complete one year of high school mathematics in this self-paced program. It is sponsored by the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas. Those who win this scholarship have the chance to live on a college campus and meet other gifted students who share their passion for mathematics.

2014 TAGT/SMI Scholarship Application – Must be postmarked by Friday, March 7, 2014

Thanks to the generosity of Summer Mathematics Institute, the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) has awarded two full scholarships to the SMI program, valued at $2,250.

K-12 Summer Enrichment Programs (TAGT does not sponsor, endorse or produce any summer programs)

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Improve Your Memory

How to Improve Your Memory, Instantly

      A crash course in training your brain for amazing recall
Published on February 14, 2014 by Christopher Taibbi, M.A.T. in Gifted-Ed Guru

Let me tell you something utterly amazing about your brain. Better yet, let me show you something you can do to increase your brain’s ability to memorize information easily…and for the long-term. In short, take a moment with me here and I’ll demonstrate a way you can consciously use your own brain’s hardware to make you feel—and seem to others—truly gifted.

First, consider this challenge. Pretend that I were to ask you to go to the grocery store for me to buy a particular list of ten items. Furthermore, suppose that I was going to dictate these items to you and that I would not let you write them down—yup, that’s right. All you can do is listen to me and do your best to memorize them. After that, you’d get in the car, drive to the store, and start shopping based on your memory of what I’d said.

How would you go about doing this? Would you make a mental acronym of the items? (POM, for example, might help you recall that you’ll need to get pizza, oranges, and mustard.) Would you make up a song about the items? Maybe you’d try to make a mental map of the store and walk through it to get the items. All of these are clever approaches, to be sure. And yet none of those are the approach most people would take which is to merely repeat the items over and over and over again, one continuous loop of “pizza, oranges, mustard… pizza, oranges, mustard….”

Regardless of the technique used above, the average person people can successfully recall seven or eight of ten items posed in such a fashion—and he can only do so in a scattershot fashion. He might recall that “mustard” was somewhere on the list, but he may not recall that it was the third item he was told to buy. The reason for this hit-or-miss memory is that, in most of the examples above, a relatively miniscule portion of the brain is being used to retain the information—the hippocampus. This portion of the brain is not really adapted to storing information in a sequential or long-term way. So imagine the power and efficiency of your brain’s ability to retain information if you could use a whole lobe of it, say 20 percent of your brain’s matter, to help you out—instead of something about the size of a lima bean. You can.

I’ve written before about the visual portion of the brain. We’ll put it to the test today. Let’s tap into the occipital lobe and, by doing a simple experiment, see if you’re not able to dramatically increase your own memory. We’ll use that simple list of 10 random grocery items to judge its effectiveness. As silly as what I am about to ask you to do may seem, I promise you this: if you really try it, if you really suspend disbelief, and if you really follow my directions, you will be able to recall that list of 10 items perfectly. I don’t mean that you’ll be able to eventually remember all the items; I mean you will have immediate recall of each item, in the order they were given, the very instant you want them, even if I were to ask you to list them for me out of order. (For example: “Tell me what the seventh item was, followed by the third and then the tenth.”)

It starts with this odd list at left. Keep it  handy. We’re going to use it a lot initially. You’ll recognize it as the words from an old nursery rhyme (“One two, buckle my shoe. Three four, shut the door.” etc.). Here’s what I’d like you to do with this list.

As I rattle off the 10 items (provided on the link you’ll find below), you are going to consult that nursery rhyme list and use it to create a picture in your mind. You’ll do this by associating the item I ask you to get with one of the items given in that list. For example, if the FIRST item I ask you to recall is a bag of oranges, then you’ll make a mental picture of “oranges” somehow associated with a “bun.” You might imagine a bunch of oranges nestled in a hot dog bun. Or maybe you’ll picture a sliced orange sitting in between the top and bottom of a hamburger bun. It’s entirely up to you, but I can tell you this: the odder the picture, the more details you create, the stronger that memory will be.

When I ask you to recall the SECOND item—say, a gallon of milk—you should make a mental picture that places “milk” and a “shoe” together. You’re drinking milk from the shoe, perhaps; or maybe you’re kicking that gallon of milk down the hallway with your high-heeled shoe. It’s up to you.

We’ll continue in like fashion. I’ll give the items in sequential order, you make the mental pictures. Initially, consult that nursery rhyme list—it’s fine! We are using that list as a matrix to help you organize the data I’m about to give you (the grocery list). Just DO NOT write down the list of items I ask you to buy—that’d be cheating. Go slowly so that you have enough time to really create each image. If I go too fast, just hit pause on the two-minute video you’re about to watch. When we are done, I’ll ask you to answer the questions in the paragraph below. Again, trust me on this: if you really try it, crazy as it seems, it will work. Ready? If so, then click this link and get ready to hear the 10 items I want you to purchase. Go!

You’re back! Great.

Now, breathe deep, relax and answer these questions. Again, you may consult that memory matrix as you complete this questionnaire. (The answers are at the end of this article.)

  • What was the third item I asked you to buy, the one you associated with the “tree”
  • What was the eighth?
  • In this order, what was item number 9, then 1, then 6?
  • Which numbered item was the “hamburger meat”?

So, are you amazed? You needn’t be. You were successful because you actively sought to use a large portion of your brain to do something that it naturally wants to do all of the time. Think about it: do you recall a time when you studied for a test and recalled that the answer to the test question lay in your notebook…it was on the right-hand page…in the upper right corner…. Or do you recall precisely where you were when you heard of the attacks on 9/11? Of all the ways your brain tries to help you recall information, for most of us, it does so in a visual format. By virtue of the experiment above, you’ve just proven that harnessing that power of the brain can dramatically improve your own abilities.

Now, it’s up to you to put that newfound talent and knowledge to everyday use.

Answers (in order): oranges, chocolate syrup, 50 lbs. of dog food, broccoli, air freshener, ice cream, 1 lb. hamburger meat, loaf of bread, blank data CDs, and heavy whipping cream

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FISD GT Game Night


Thursday, February 20, 2014
from 6:00-8:00 PM Griffin Middle School Cafe*
3703 ElDorado Parkway
Frisco, TX  75033

The school cafe is located on the south side of the school.  Please use the Lenox Lane parking entrance.

PTA SAGE Sponsored Parent Program

PERFECTIONISM:  Excellence is the Anecdote

As a convenience, a dinner option is available for those interested.  This month, the meals will consist of 2 slices of pizza, a cookie and a drink for $4 each.   Extra slices of pizza may be sold at $1 a slice once everyone is served.  Please let us know when you RSVP how many people plan to eat & if you prefer vegetarian options.
RSVP’s for food should be sent no later than Wednesday, February 19 at noon.  RSVPs for the parent program and game night are accepted later,
just not food reservations.

PLEASE RSVP TO with the following information:
1.  Number of students attending game night.
2.  Number of parents attending parent program.
3.  School your child(ren) attend(s).
4.  How many will be eating. (FOOD RSVP’s need to be sent by Wednesday, February 19 at noon.)
5.  If you want to volunteer to help with game night or with FGA in general, please let us know when you RSVP!  We are looking for committee members!

What Does It Mean to Be Gifted?

In this article, Dr. Sternberg introduces how children might be intellectually gifted in different ways. The author communicates his message with anecdotes but more importantly, advocates for the development of skills beyond the knowledge of facts and information. Cultivating creative and practical skills are also vital parts of the development of a gifted child. Elsewhere, Sternberg has developed a theory of what he calls, “successful intelligence.” Successful intelligence is being able to take advantage of one’s strengths, compensate for one’s weaknesses. Successfully intelligent people can adapt, shape, and select their environment to best suit their needs and goals. This perspective may be a useful reference when considering what can be done for gifted kids beyond their school curriculum.

When parents think of their children as gifted, they usually think of high IQ scores, high SATs, high ACTs, high grades, and the like. But research shows that there is much more to giftedness than the academic ability and achievement that U.S. society values.  Conventional tests emphasize memory and analytic skill.

At least two other kinds of skill, however, are important to success in life: creativity and practical know-how.

Children need creativity to come up with many ideas, analytic skill to decide which of their ideas are worth pursuing, and practical know-how to apply them and to persuade others of their value. Although some people are more creatively, others more analytically, and others more practically gifted, at least some level of all three skills is important.  One of my gifted students, “Alice,” who was very strong analytically, for instance, got high test scores and excellent grades and was very good at analyzing other people’s ideas, but she was not so good at forming her own. Nor did she apply ideas flexibly. Her traditional academic giftedness had come at a price. She did well as long as someone told her what to do; otherwise, she was at a loss. Alice’s schooling probably had made her this way. She had been so heavily rewarded for her analytic giftedness that she had had no incentive to develop creativity and practical skill.

On the other hand, other individuals may be very creative but may fail to recognize which ideas are good ones. One student with whom I went to graduate school, “Jimmy,” was highly creative but found it hard to distinguish between good ideas and bad ones. He has not been as successful as he might have been if he had cultivated his ability to analyze the relative value of his ideas.  High IQ is a start toward giftedness, but only a start.

Creative individuals also benefit from practical skills. Many highly creative people spend their lives feeling frustrated because they cannot figure out how to persuade any-one to listen to them. Their underdeveloped practical skills leave them unable to attain the success they seek.

Other people have excellent practical skill but not analytic skill or creativity. Their talent lies more in persuading others to do things than in finding worthwhile things for them to do. Many heads of state, for instance, have misled their countries because their powers of persuasion and enforcement—their practical skills—are highly developed, while their ideas are not.

So parents and teachers should help their children develop not only their memory and analytic skill but their creativity and practical skill. To develop creativity, children should be engaged in activities that enable them to discover, invent, imagine, and suppose; to develop analytic skills,  they should be encouraged to evaluate, critique, compare, and contrast; and to develop practical skills, they should be given opportunities to use, apply, and implement. Moreover, parents should model the skills they wish their children to acquire.  Simply taking children to see a museum exhibition on dinosaurs, for example, will not help them develop their intellectual skills, but asking them analytic, creative, and practical questions relevant to the exhibition will: How did small dinosaurs protect themselves from large ones? What might have happened if the dinosaurs had not become extinct but had lived for many more generations? What do we have to learn from the dinosaurs? Why do we refer to some people as dinosaurs?

It may seem like a daunting task to try to develop all three kinds of skills—analytic, creative, and practical—in your child. But it is worth the effort.  Of course, it is important for gifted children, regardless of their abilities, and for their parents to bear in mind that few people are exceptional at everything they turn their hand to. Rather, most people succeed by identifying their strengths and weaknesses, making the most of the one, and finding ways to compensate for the other. At a talk once I said to the woman next to me that I wished I could speak as well as the speaker did. “That’s the wrong thing to wish for,” she remarked. “You should wish to find your own way to excel.” She was right. We all need to find our own path. 

—Robert J. Sternberg, Ph.D.

Robert J. Sternberg is IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University; director of the Yale Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise; and president-elect of the American Psychological Association.

Sternberg, Robert J., Ph. D. “What Does It Mean to Be Gifted?” Duke TIP. Duke Talent Identification Program, 2011. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

Public Speaking Workshop!

FBCTC Public Speaking Workshop for Youth 2014

Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony Children Ministries will host a Public Speaking workshop February 22, 2014 from 9AM – 12:30PM. The workshop is open to all students in grades 6th through 12th and is based on the belief that every young person has the potential to become a good communicator and leader. The workshop will use the principles and practical examples of Toastmasters International to provide emphasis on specialized skills and the individual needs of each participant. The location of the workshop is in the Family Life Center of Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony, 4396 Main Street, The Colony, Texas 75056. Please visit for additional information.